15,000 tested for coronavirus antibodies erroneously told they're immune from reinfection

CityMD, an urgent care clinic with locations in New York and New Jersey, mistakenly told 15,000 people who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies that they are immune to the virus, according to CNBC.

Health experts have not confirmed that possessing antibodies to the new coronavirus gives people immunity from becoming reinfected with COVID-19. A spokesperson for the urgent care clinic told Becker's that patients were told via an online portal that they were immune to reinfection due to an "editing error," which has been fixed. The urgent care clinic is reaching out to patients who got the incorrect message.

"We have removed the incorrect language and have contacted [the] patients to ensure they have the correct information," the spokesperson told Becker's via email. "We apologize for any confusion this has created."

Tests that identify antibodies in the blood are being used to determine whether people have been infected with COVID-19. As U.S. states look to lift pandemic restrictions, antibody tests could be one way to ensure public health safety.

But the FDA, World Health Organization and infectious diseases experts agree that there is not enough data to show that possessing coronavirus antibodies confers immunity.

"Four months into this pandemic, we're not able to say an antibody response means someone is immune," Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit head, said last month, according to CNBC.

 

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